Soothing touch—whether it’s massage, energy work, a facial, or a glorious combination of the many treatments available—offers a bevy of therapeutic benefits beyond simple relaxation. Therapeutic bodywork can relieve stress, body aches, and joint pain, as well as provide an overall sense of well-being, thanks to the release of opiate-like endorphins. Some people walk out of a massage looking like they’ve had a three-martini lunch. Read more…
- Posted in Health
The historic quilt collection at the Atwood House Museum in Chatham holds a treasure-trove of stories in its folds. Study the quilts’ intricate patterns, deep colors, rich textures—and sometimes even handwritten messages—and a swirl of history passes by.
Consider Marjory Smith, who bought the material for her gorgeous red and green quilt in Boston, when she traveled there to shop for bridal clothes for her 1833 wedding to John Atwood. Or Mehitable Atwood, whose friends and relatives pieced a multicolored “friendship” quilt in honor of her 1848 marriage to Benjamin Boylston and wrote bits of wisdom on its back (“Remember me when night closes in on thee” and “True friendship is everlasting” are just two of many).
With their captivating visuals and messages that were sometimes inked or stitched onto the back, the quilts give a glimpse of Chatham life in the 1800s and early 1900s—life that is as profound as any history book.
Salley Mavor’s studio is an alternate universe in miniature: seedpods become sleek Tom Thumb-sized boats, acorns morph into tiny hats, and wooden coat toggles serve as bedposts. Inhabiting these magical wee worlds are elfin figures who play, work, and romp through nature, all crafted by Mavor, ultimately to become illustrations in her children’s books. “I create these worlds,” Mavor says.
Tessa Morgan first worked with clay to sooth her teenage angst and nurse the creativity her parents instilled in her when she was a little girl. In the 35 years since, that early work—tiny pots she made at a neighbor’s house in the Maryland countryside outside Washington, D.C.—has evolved into vases, lamps, bowls, and tiles that sing with Morgan’s spirited designs and gorgeous hand-mixed glazes. Read more…
Lorraine W. Trenholm is as restless as her two horses loping outside, on her 75-acre property perched on a Colorado mesa. Awake since 4:30 a.m., Trenholm’s morning has been chock-a-block with activity: feeding her Saluki hounds, teaching a pastels class in a nearby town, and, not least, talking about her prolific work. Her nature-inspired paintings are impressionistic celebrations—like the places she plants herself, laced with a powerful but subdued energy.
“I’m a restless spirit,” Trenholm says. “I have gotten the impression that I make some galleries crazy because I bounce around in subject matter and style.” She pauses, then adds with an apologetic smile in her voice, “I am my paintings.” She adheres to strict demands on herself. “The best paintings create a compelling image. You can do 25 images and only four will be compelling images.” Read more…
- Posted in Health
Award-winning Cape Cod landscape designer Paul Miskovsky’s own garden is mystical and magical any time of the day—or night.
Paul Miskovsky has planted a garden on a cliff, set another on an island in a pond, and created several under the vast roof of the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. But of his many horticultural designs, there may be none more enchanting than that which surrounds his own Falmouth home.
We are in Miskovsky’s backyard on a hillside that edges conservation land, eyeing below a lush scene of a waterfall surrounded by a profusion of plants. Miskovsky, owner of Miskovsky Landscaping in Falmouth, and his fiancée, Eva Lemoine, worked for three years on the garden, which begins in the front of their buttermilk-yellow contemporary colonial and stretches around both sides to fill the backyard. Tonight, special lighting will transform the entire setting into a mystical wonderland.
The property has a variety of features, including several patio settings, but Miskovsky thinks of it as a single garden. This pocket of nature means everything to the landscape designer. “Living with this garden is a very fulfilling lifestyle,” he says. “It’s the visual, the color, the sound, the interest through the seasons.”
Miskovsky and Lemoine moved to the Falmouth property in 2002 and dug into the landscape project. It was memorable, requiring hundreds of yards of topsoil and compost. “We were buying it by the trailer load from Maine,” Miskovsky recalls, shaking his head at the memory. Over those three years, the couple turned a flat, hard surface of gravel peppered with a few oak trees into a horticultural beauty with several gradations and different views every few steps.
Pools of cool quiet are interwoven with imaginative arrangements and sculpture that draw your attention. Scents waft from flowers and sage. Trees and grasses rustle in the wind, while water fountains and the backyard waterfall provide a soothing backdrop sound. Colors abound. Some of the plants are free-form and others are shaped, such as the spidery, deep green European larch, a new variety.
Miskovsky has won top awards at the New England Spring Flower Show in Boston. He is a trustee of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, which produces the annual show. But designing the property that he and Lemoine see and live in every day was a very different experience—and not easy. “This garden is really formal-informal,” Miskovsky says. “There are games I play here. I played a lot of horticultural tricks, getting it all to look like it should.”
At either side of the front door, centered in the columned front portico, are big pots of pom-pom topiaries that provide a touch of formality. Just off the porch are concrete planters that he and Lemoine found and filled with trailing ivy that circles a single Cordyline, a dramatic focal point plant with purple-red leaves and a recent introduction in the plant world. Lemoine is a very important part of the process. As Miskovsky says, “She’s the one who takes care of the garden.”
Miskovsky is well aware of the importance of people in his life. His father, a mechanic, died when he was 10 and Miskovsky began taking any work he could get—yard care, clamming, repairing machinery—to help support the family. It is a touching story of a young boy rising to the challenge of a household where children had to help provide. Miskovsky doesn’t think that the fact he’s been working since age 10 says anything about his character. He shrugs, saying simply, “Everybody’s got a story.”
Miskovsky hunts out new plants the way some people scour the earth for rare antiques. He’s attracted to the unusual, unknown, and difficult-to-grow. He found the Cordyline at the 2007 Chelsea Flower Show in London. “It was brand new,” he recalls. In another flower grouping, alongside blue salvia, orange Leonotis leonurus, and pink spiderwort, are Martha’s Vineyard shrub roses. “They’re not produced anymore,” Miskovsky says, pointing to the soft pink roses. The leonurus is a native of Africa and usually grown in California, Hawaii, and Australia.
This says a lot about Miskovsky. If he likes a plant, he puts enough sweat and love into its welfare to assure its survival. “You do the best you can for them, and hopefully they do their best for you,” he says.
The real horticultural surprise is in the back of the house. There are several spaces here, some offering privacy and others perfect for gathering groups of friends and family. Three patios are set with tables and chairs, all with a view of the waterfall, which is center stage. Nearby a granite walkway with a locust banister leads to a space that feels like a secret, furnished with a table and chairs under a bamboo cover that sprouts clematis.
Eyes always turn to the waterfall. Water rushes over flat Maine granite stones, creating a pleasant experience for the eyes, ears, and soul. There is no pond at the bottom— Miskovsky buried pumps and a bio-filter to create the rushing water. But it looks completely natural.
Another space high on the hillside is cleared for a tent and picnic table. Nearby is a little enclosure with a bamboo roof and locust frame. It is a private space for Miskovsky’s nine-year-old son. “This is his fort,” he says. On the other side of the house is a shed like no other. The roof is planted with spiky variegated yucca, butterfly weed, verbena, and ferns, and hearty English ivy trails down the sides.
Sitting at his favorite patio, Miskovsky gazes at a hefty birdhouse—big and roomy, purple martin size—sitting on a cedar pole. The late Allen Haskell, a renowned horticulturist from New Bedford and Miskovsky’s mentor, gave it to him. “It weighs 200 pounds,” Miskovsky says. “It took four men to get it up there and a tele-handler.”
Miskovsky is very comfortable here; he is home, after all. “I’m very lucky,” he says as his eyes sweep over the view. “It’s a nice little garden.”
To contact Paul Miskovsky, go to www.miskovskylandscape.com.
- Posted in Food
Through her art, Hella Bailin revealed some of the best and worst moments of her life. From the worst—her parents were killed in a concentration camp during the Holocaust—to joyful world travels, Bailin created her art as a way to embrace cultures, capture the essential goodness of people, and accept and express her extraordinary sorrow and loss. Read more…